For the first time in almost 20 years I got to step foot on Hawaiian soil yet again — but this time on a new island. Alohaaaa Oahu! For 10 straight days I beached it in private cabanas, hiked the tourist spots, and visited lost treasures in the forest.
Now, many of you may not know but my family is a little obsessed with Disney, so of course we stayed at the Disney Aulani while on Oahu. While we loved the atmosphere and all the staff were friendly and helpful, I would not recommend it if you have an older family (the youngest in my family is 20 years old). The resort was beautiful and the private lagoon was to die for, but it was so secluded that you have to drive 30 min to get to Waikiki and 2 hours to get to the North Shore.
The hiking on Oahu was outstanding! Diamond Head, Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail, and Manoa Falls were the best tourist hikes on the island. Waimea Falls is a total tourist trap — it takes 12 minutes to get to it on a paved road and you have to wear a life jacket to get in the water at the bottom of the waterfall. Trust me when I say don’t waste your money on this one.
Whats the best hike in Oahu? Imagine waking through a bamboo forest next to a stream and ending up in a clearing that holds the Kaniakapupu Ruins — the summer house of King Kamehameha III from 1847. Technically it is on private land and you do have to go through a hole in the fence, but man is it worth it to break the law on this one. Now finding the path to these ruins is unmarked so with the guidance of a blog we were able to successfully find the ruins. The best part of this hike? We were completely alone to walk around and explore the ruins. Not a single soul was there when we arrived to the clearing. Honestly, that was the best part of the entire experience of Kaniakapupu Ruins. To find this unmarked and undeveloped tourist spot made the history and the Hawaiian cultural come to life. So, if you are ever on Oahu visit the Kaniakapupu Ruins and really take in the awe of the place because trust me, it is so worth the walk through the beautiful bamboo forest.
Oahu, you were inspiring, charismatic, beautiful, and unforgettable. Thank you for the hospitality — I will be back one day to find more uncharted destinations on your island.